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Collins enjoying challenge of dual role

WHEN Podge Collins was beckoned from the dugout, along with Michael O’Shea, early in the second half in Dungarvan, it represented the hurling All-Star’s league debut for the county footballers. His impact was immediate. Collins pointed a left-footed score, which came at a critical time for Clare. It followed a sustained period of Waterford possession, which only resulted in a single Paul Whyte pointed free. Collins’ point was similar to the left-footed effort he landed in the Munster club football semi-final against Ballincourty in Cusack Park last November. “That one against Ballincourty was a bit of a fluke,” the UL student joked. Sunday didn’t represent his debut for the senior footballers, as Collins played in the 2012 McGrath Cup, while he represented the county at U-21 level for three years. Prior to that, he played county football at every level, from U-14 to minor. Playing both codes for Clare represents a major challenge. However, Podge, whose brother Seán worked hard …

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Kissane content with winning start

A VERITABLE glow of satisfaction exuded from Clare coach, Paudie Kissane as he spoke outside the Clare dressing room in Dungarvan. An All-Ireland winner with Cork in 2010, the now retired wing-back has played on the biggest stages available to a Gaelic footballer but last Sunday, it was clear what an opening win in Waterford meant to him. “The first half was a bit mixed and for the first 10 minutes of the second half, we were under a bit of pressure. They were coming forward but we didn’t panic and we forced them to make mistakes and caught them on the break and got some good scores,” was Kissane’s analysis of Clare’s seven-point win. Clare started with U-21s Martin O’Leary and Jamie Malone in the full-forward line. Kissane made it clear that age or experience aren’t something that he dwells on. “If you want to see what a guy is made of and try to give him a chance …

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Tubridy and Hartnett doubtful for Leitrim game

THE Clare senior football team to play Leitrim in Cusack Park on Sunday at 2pm is the same team that was named to start against Waterford last Sunday. Kilmurry Ibrickane’s Enda Coughlan couldn’t line out in Dungarvan, due to a back injury, but is expected to be fit for Sunday. However, there are doubts over Kevin Hartnett, who picked up an injury in training this week and David Tubridy (hamstring). If they cannot start, it is likely that Stephen Collins and Michael O’Shea may start against the Connacht county. There is also a doubt over the match venue. Friday night’s likely storm may mean that the game could be moved to Miltown Malbay. The team named to start is: Pierce Deloughrey (Cratloe); Dean Ryan (Éire Óg), Kevin Hartnett (Meelick), Martin McMahon (Kilmurry Ibrickane); Óige Murphy (Cratloe), Enda Coughlan (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Shane Hickey (Kilmurry Ibrickane); Gary Brennan (Clondegad), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen); Shane Brennan (Clondegad), Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis), Seán Collins (Cratloe); Martin O’Leary (Kilmihil), David Tubridy …

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Hartnett the man for the job in Clare full-back line

CLARE full-back Kevin Hartnett has a couple of short-term aims. The Meelick man, who returned from the US at Christmas, is very keen that Clare pick up a home win against Leitrim on Sunday. However, he is equally focused on trying to secure employment as soon as he can. Although he has a Bachelor’s degree in fitness from Tralee IT, Hartnett isn’t fussy about what he works at. Before he resumes the job search though, Hartnett is concentrating on this weekend’s league opponents. “Leitrim is the next stepping stone. It was great to get the result against Waterford but you always have to be moving forward. Leitrim on Sunday is all we’re focusing on now. We’re not worried about what’s coming after that or what has happened before. It’s about how we attack Sunday. They had a good win against Antrim. We know they’re going to be good and we just have to prepare ourselves right, give a good whack …

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Jonathan Clancy has called time on his inter-county career.

Clancy quits Clare squad

by Seamus Hayes Clarecastle’s Jonathan Clancy has called time on his inter-county hurling career. A member of the squad since 2005 when he was included by the then manager, Anthony Daly, the midfielder was retained by subsequent managers, Tony Considine, Mike McNamara, Ger O’Loughlin and Fitzgerald. He is the second member of the All-Ireland winning squad to retire from inter-county hurling. Fergal Lynch from Clooney-Quin, who is now part of the backroom team, having been appointed by manager Davy Fitzgerald as a forwards’ coach, announced his retirement the week after the All-Ireland final. That success last September was “the highlight” of Clancy’s eight-year inter-county career he told The Clare Champion this week. “Prior to that, there wasn’t much silverware but I wouldn’t change anything. They were great times but very tough, particularly when one was trying to work also,” Clancy added, confirming that he will continue to play with his club. Clancy played two years with the Clare minors and …

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Davy to receive LIT fellowship

NEXT Thursday, Limerick Institute of Technology will honour Davy Fitzgerald by making him one of the first five people to receive an honorary fellowship from the college. The Clare manager and four others will be honoured at a ceremony that will be held at the Limerick College of Art and Design. On the night, his citation will be read by Sean Kelly, past president of the GAA and now serving as an MEP. Davy has been associated with LIT for a number of years and was over their Fitzgibbon Cup winning sides of 2005 and 2007. He is still over the LIT side and they will be in action again on Tuesday.

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Waterford Crystal final switched to Limerick

THE Waterford Crystal hurling final between Clare, the holders, and Tipperary, scheduled for O’Garney Park in Sixmilebridge this Friday night, has been switched to The Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. The game will throw-in at 7.30pm. In the light of recent rainfall and projected weather forecasts, concern had been expressed of the game proceeding at O’Garney Park. Clare had already played two games in the tournament, against Limerick and UCC at the Sixmilebridge venue, and Munster Council were monitoring the situation throughout the week. However, on Thursday a decision was taken by Munster Council to transfer the game to The Gaelic Grounds. This will be the third year in succession that Clare and Tipperary will have contested the final, and the record stands at one victory apiece.

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Away semi-final for Clare

Clare have been drawn away in the semi-final of the Oscar Traynor inte-league competition. They will play the winners of the quarter final involving the Kerry and District League and the United Churches League, a game that is scheduled for Sunday, February 23.   In the other semi-final Inisowen from Donegal, last year’s beaten finalists, await the winners of the game between Kilkenny and holders AUL.   No date has been set for the semi-finals but it’s expected that Clare will be in action in early March.   According to Clare manager Liam Murphy, “Any of the teams that are left in the race will be difficult to beat. We wanted to avoid a trip to Inisowen and that materialised”.   While he agreed, “On paper the other side of the draw looks particularly tough but we are going to be facing either a strong Dublin side (United Churches) or a well organised and strong Kerry side. We will have an …

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